President Goodluck Jonathan has raised the bar of performance in sports ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil as he charged Nigerian Athletes to bring home with 36 medals which must include at least five gold medals.
Also present at the retreat which took place on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.
Others were members of the Federal Executive Council, sports administrators, security chiefs, captains of industries among others.
The president charged the state governors to look into areas of advantage so as to contribute one athlete in their own chosen advantageous area who will be amongst the Team Nigeria 2016 contingent.
Mr Jonathan said: “Every state has some level of comparative advantage in one form of sports or the order and if every state will promise Nigerians that we will give you a medal in this area and another medal in this area that means we are expecting 36 medals.
“Out of these 36 medals, at least five will be gold. I also believe that the private sector will play a key role. We know that in some countries, the private sector plays some key roles in sporting activities and not just trading or manufacturing sporting wares.”
The president further promised his administration’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria becomes the best sporting nation in Africa and among the top four sporting nations in the Commonwealth and ultimately rule the world.
Jonathan said the vision was not only realistic but was also achievable with hard work, greater sense of purpose and dedication.
The purpose of the retreat according to the president was to chart a new course for sports in Nigeria and reclaim the country’s past glory as well as restore happiness and glory to the sporting events.
Mr Jonathan observed that apart from its benefits in bringing joy to Nigerians, especially when the nation’s teams do well, no other sector of national life has a greater force for mobilising and uniting the people around a common purpose than sports.